Donald Vincent Henke Sr.
Phoenix - Donald Vincent Henke, Sr. of Phoenix, Arizona, passed away at the age of 72. He was born in Gary, Indiana and attended Merrillville High School. In high school, he was a member of the wrestling team and earned his letter by wrestling at regionals.
After graduating, Donald married and went to work in a steel mill in Gary. He and his wife had one child, Donald Jr. He completed 38 semester hours of college credit from Indiana University at the Northwest Regional Campus.
Donald's career and educational pursuits were changed when he was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War. He completed his basic training at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington. Wile at Fort Lewis, he earned a Marksman Rating for the M16 rifle and a Sharpshooter Rating for the Colt 45 pistol. After completing basic training, he went to Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio Texas, to train as an Army medic. He completed his training as a medic and was deployed to West Berlin, Germany, as a member of the Berlin Brigade.
As a member of the Berlin Brigade, his duties included guarding Spandau Prison and participating in military field maneuvers. When not treating broken limbs and frostbite from the military field maneuvers in the winter, he worked in a hospital where he became interested in how physical therapists helped patients. At that point, Donald decided he wanted to become a physical therapist.
After he was honorably discharged, Donald used the GI Bill to attend Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, to earn his undergraduate degree. He enrolled in one of the first classes of the newly established Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
After earning his Physical Therapy degree, he went on to work in the field for almost thirty years. Donald especially enjoyed working with patients who had suffered an injury at work. His goal was to help patients learn how to avoid repetitive injuries.
He was an avid traveler and journeyed extensively throughout Europe with his life partner Linda Beck. He enjoyed watching the Phoenix Suns, his beloved Arizona State football, and women's basketball teams. Donald was an avid reader with a passion for John Steinbeck and he loved solving cross-word puzzles to sharpen his mind.
Donald's son, Donald Jr., predeceased his father. Donald is survived by grandchildren, Vonda Myers, Edward Smith, and Kendell Williamson; great grandchildren, Aurora Bennett, Joshua Myers, Jr., Judy-Mae Myers, and Olwyn Williamson; brothers David Henke and Harold Henke; nephew Jason Henke, niece Lindsay Jolley; grandniece Evelyn Henke and grandnephew Michael Henke.
He will be laid to rest in the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona where his father and uncle are also buried.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Feb. 16 to Feb. 21, 2021.